Wollongong's Housing Trust will build 17 new homes especially for women over the next two years, thanks to a $4.3 million grant from Wollongong City Council.
Designed to address the growing number of older women and single women with children who are facing homelessness or housing insecurity, the villas or townhouses will be built at Bellambi and another yet to be decided suburb.
CEO Michele Adair said Housing Trust would match the council funding "at least dollar for dollar" and, thanks to the size of the grant, would be able to make a "sizable diffierence" to the lives of low income women and children.
"We will proudly deliver 17 homes so these women and their families can live, work, educate their children and connect to their community in safety and security," she said.
"Older women have emerged as one of the most vulnerable groups in relation to housing insecurity in Australia in recent years with a 31 percent increase in the number of older women experiencing homelessness according to the 2016 census.
For some women, a single crisis or change in circumstances can result in homelessness with little or no warning.
"Single women with children are particularly vulnerable to homelessness as they spend the most on housing as a percentage of their weekly gross income," she said.
The grant was awarded during a confidential council meeting late last year, under the council's affordable housing program.
The funding was originally provided to the council in 2012 as part of the then Labor's government Building Better Regional Cities Program grant.
The money was supposed to be used to set up a West Dapto Home Deposit Program, to help first homeowners buy in to the growing suburb.
However, this failed as sharp increases in land and house values stopped low to moderate income earners' from being able to buy homes in that area.
After sitting on most of the cash for six years, the council decided in 2018 that it would split the remaining $10.4 million of the grant.
Half would go towards not-for-profit community housing providers and the other half would be used to set up a yet-to-be revealed affordable home-ownership scheme for low to moderate income earners,.
Ms Adair said she was keen to see the council make the remaining money available so it could be used to help vulnerable people in the region.
"We would also like them to free up the $900,000 balance from the grant program, of the $5.2 million that was available," she said.
Ms Adair said it was anticipated the 17 new Hosing Trust homes would be ready for occupation by early 2022.